Mass. Pharmacy Chief Fired Over Meningitis

He ignored complaint that it was selling drugs illegally
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 8, 2012 8:56 AM CST
Mass. Pharmacy Chief Fired Over Meningitis
A vial of injectable steroids from the New England Compounding Center is displayed in the Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville, Tenn., Oct. 8, 2012.   (AP Photo/Kristin M. Hall)

Massachusetts has fired the director of its Board of Pharmacy for failing to follow up on a complaint against the New England Compounding Center—the facility behind the recent meningitis outbreak. Colorado's pharmacy board had complained that the center was illegally selling medicine to Colorado hospitals without prescriptions, and demanded it be shut down, the Wall Street Journal explains.

Director James Coffey forwarded that complaint to a board lawyer, but that lawyer took no action, and Coffey never followed up. The state's interim health commissioner called that "incomprehensible" given that concerns had been raised about the NECC in the past, so Coffey is out of a job. The lawyer he forwarded the complaint to has been placed on administrative leave. (More meningitis stories.)

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